UN condemns deadly attack on school in Syria as ‘a new low’

Children in conflicts

Children have again become the innocent victims of deadly attacks on schools – after bombings in Syria and Ukraine on the same day.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 46 children – most under 12 – were among 53 people killed in a double bombing outside a primary school in Homs on October 1. Other reports put the death toll at more than 30. At least 50 others were wounded in an attack described by Homs governor Talal Barazzi as a “terrorist act and a desperate attempt that targeted school children”.

The Syria attack happened at the Akrameh al-Makhzoumi primary school in government-held Homs, according to officials. Reports said a car bomb was detonated in front of the school. Minutes later a suicide bomber drove by and detonated his car.

The attack was condemned by Leila Zerrougui, the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. She said: “Innocent children are once again victims of the brutal Syrian conflict. I am appalled by yesterday’s school attacks in the city of Homs.

“The perpetrator directly targeted schoolchildren and timed his attack to inflict maximum casualties. This is a new low in a conflict in which warring parties have already caused immense suffering to the country’s children.”

In the Ukrainian city of Donetsk reports said at least four people – including a teacher and a parent – were killed when a school was shelled on the first day of classes, The shell landed in the playground but no children are believed to have been injured.

More than 200 people including 70 children aged eight to 10 were at school number 57 in the Kievsky district when the playground was shelled. The school windows were shattered but the children escaped unharmed. Another six people are said to have been killed when shells hit a nearby minivan.

Lidia Sheiko, who teaches Russian at the school, said: “It was a nightmare. There was glass flying everywhere. The children got frightened and began to cry.”

Children in conflicts and emergencies is one of the 100-day themes of the #EducationCountdown. You can read more about the campaign here.

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